The largest-ever high-level meeting on climate change, convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in an effort to forge a coalition to accelerate a global response to climate change and build international momentum for the major summit to be held in Bali, concluded on Monday evening at the UN Headquarters in New York.
Ban said in his closing remarks that climate change was "directly and constructively discussed at the highest level for the first time in history."
He claimed that the "event has taken us into a new era," saying, "today I heard a clear call from world leaders for a breakthrough on climate change in Bali, and now I believe we have a major political commitment to achieving that."
The UN chief voiced his hope for building understanding and a new consensus this year, adding that "more remains to be done, but this event has sent a powerful political signal to the world, and to the Bali conference, that there is the will, and the determination, at the highest level, to break with the past and act decisively."
Stressing that a post-Kyoto agreement must be in force by the end of 2012, he called for "comprehensive and inclusive" negotiations to take place in Bali.
Addressing a press conference immediately after the conclusion of the gathering, he said world leaders have demonstrated the political will necessary to make a breakthrough on climate change.
"This has been a ground-breaking, historical event," he told reporters, characterizing the summit as a "sea-change in the response to climate change."
During the one-day meeting, participants from over 150 nations, including 80 heads of state or government exchanged views on climate change and galvanized political will for the UN climate change conference in Bali in December.
That meeting seeks to determine future action on mitigation, adaptation, the global carbon market and financing responses to climate change for the period after the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol the current global framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in 2012.
Four plenary sessions on the themes of adaptation, mitigation, technology and financing were held simultaneously at the event, entitled "The Future in our Hands: Addressing the Leadership Challenge of Climate Change."
Summarizing the adaptation session, Ban said that participants voiced solidarity with the most vulnerable nations - in particular, the small island developing states and least developed countries -to the consequences of climate change.
On technology, he said many participants pointed out that technological solutions for pushing forward the goals of adaptation and mitigation already exist.
"Effective policy frameworks and cooperation mechanisms can greatly accelerate the deployment of these solutions between and within the North and the South," the UN chief said, adding that global collaboration must be urgently increased to help developing countries to move toward low carbon and renewable energy, which can in turn spur economic growth.
Regarding financing, he said that many participants suggested that tackling climate change need not curtail economic development.
Developing countries should be provided with resources for investment and for cultivating their ability to identify and implement the necessary policies to promote sustainable growth, hesaid.
Ban also said that the attendees noted that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the only forum to devise solutions to the challenges posed by climate change.
"All other processes or initiatives should be compatible with the UNFCCC process and should feed into it, facilitating its successful conclusion," he said.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who also spoke at the close of the event, noted that the plenary sessions were "marked by a strong sense of commitment and urgency."
Regarding the upcoming Bali meeting, Yudhoyono said, "There is a public demand for concrete and bold action. Thus, we are looking forward to their principal outcome: bold global decisions addressing climate change without significantly jeopardizing development efforts."
The Kyoto pact, which the US rejects, requires 36 industrial nations to reduce carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases.
It set an average target of a 5 percent cut below 1990 levels by 2012 for emissions from power plants and other industrial, agricultural and transportation sources.
(Xinhua News Agency September 26, 2007)